James Mayes

Posts Tagged ‘measuring influence’

Blog: Influence vs impressions, TweetReach & conferences

In Conference, Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Tips on February 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

I’ve written before on the value of the backchannel at conferences. It’s something I get huge value from, whether I’m at the event or not. However, I’ve noticed recently the analytics from TweetReach being used more and more often.  I don’t live-tweet events professionally, or indeed organise conferences, so I’ve no reason to pay for full reports.  However, the snippets I’ve seen raise concerns.

Total impressions for 50 #trulondon tweetsTweetReach, so far as I can tell, tracks the tweets on a hashtag, plus those who tweeted them, the retweets, and as a result, the total possible number of views. It’s purely numbers though, and pays no attention to relevance (so far as I can tell).

Imagine, if you will, tweets coming from someone who’s had a career building websites. Maybe he/she has 10,000 followers.  If they then live-tweet a recruiting conference, they may indeed get huge numbers of impressions – but are those impressions a relevant audience. I’d guess probably not.

As an alternative, how about a tweeter with a career in recruitment, live-tweeting a recruiting conference. Maybe 800-1000 followers. I’d hazard a guess there’d be accelerated value through relevancy of audience and subsequent retweets to extended networks.

I therefore have a few questions.

  1. Have I missed something in the TweetReach analytics?
  2. Should a pro live-tweeter maintain separate account for different industry events?
  3. Should a conference organiser actually have the live-tweeter use his/her own account, to ensure greater relevance?

If you’re reading Glenn, I’m not going into the live-tweeting business – I’m just curious!  All thoughts and comments welcome.


Blog: Calculating influence

In Social Media, Twitter on January 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I’ve read a fair amount of blogs (and associated comments) recently on the subject of influence on Twitter.  What is it, how is it defined, can it be measured, etc.  A quick scan of online reference sites offers a number of definitions. Since this is as much for my benefit as anyone’s, I’m going to select a definition which I feel is both simplistic and roughly appropriate to my intent: “the action or process of producing effects on the actions […] of another”.

What I really want to play around with here is the idea of measuring it.  There are a number of tools out there which try do this, Klout probably being the best-known.These sites don’t generally disclose their algorithms or methods – partially to stop people “gaming the system”, partially for competitive reasons. So to the meat of this. What do I think should be measured? How does the metric look?

Most systems start with follower numbers – but this is no good if the person in question tends not to retweet or share.  It’s also no good if the person follows thousands of people and is highly unlikely to see (or even be interested in) my output.  On the other hand, if someone’s happy to share my material on a regular basis, but has only limited followers of their own, what good will that do me? Finally – whatever number of followers and retweets are involved, it’s still of negligible benefit if the followers in question don’t represent my target audience.

If a platform was going to meaningfully analyse and measure influence for me, it would need to understand both my target audience, and the followers of whoever retweeted on my behalf.  Is the data in someone’s Twitter bio solid enough to form a judgement on? Typically, I’d say not – so the only measure available would be the keywords in previous tweets. Going down this route implies the platform would need to both analyse said tweets – but more importantly, actually access them.  It’s not the easiest thing to go back in time with Twitter…

So what other measure could be a useful part of the mix?  For me, I’d be interested in the type of thing tweeted. If I got retweets from someone who only ever retweeted others, I doubt it would carry much significance.  Ideally for me, a Twitter account contains a rich mix of interesting short tweets, links to longer material of relevance and reciprocated @mentions to other Twitter users – showing the level of relationship. Capture all that, I think you get somewhere nearer to a measure of influence that might actually interest me.

Can this realistically be done on Twitter? Possibly – but I think the answer may lie in opening up to other platforms in order to better cover the target audience part of things.  Using the more detailed profiles of LinkedIn might be one route to explore.

However it progresses – and I’m sure it will – this post has been something of a pain to me.  I have an idea in mind, a model if you will – but I’m not happy with the way it’s converted on the blog.  I feel like I’m still missing a key part and I’d welcome any thoughts in getting it clearer – if only for the sake of my sanity!

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